24 Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people. 2 Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared. 3 The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken!
4 The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. 5 The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive. 7 The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn. 8 The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent. 9 Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth. 10 The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders. 11 Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land. 12 The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down. 13 Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.
14 But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty. 15 In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16 We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One!
But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. 17 Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. 18 Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare.
Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. 20 The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.
21 In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. 22 They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished. 23 Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.
Praise for Judgment and Salvation
25 O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. 2 You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you.
4 But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, 5 or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
6 In Jerusalem,[a] the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. 7 There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. 8 He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken!
9 In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” 10 For the Lord’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. 11 God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. 12 The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.
A Song of Praise to the Lord
26 In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song:
Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. 2 Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. 3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 4 Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. 5 He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. 6 The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.
7 But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. 8 Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. 9 In the night I search for you; in the morning[b] I earnestly seek you. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. 10 Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty. 11 O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume your enemies.
12 Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. 13 O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship. 14 Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten. 15 O Lord, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory!
16 Lord, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline. 17 Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, Lord. 18 We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world. 19 But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!
Restoration for Israel
20 Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed. 21 Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see.
27 In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan,[c] the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent. He will kill the dragon of the sea.
2 “In that day, sing about the fruitful vineyard. 3 I, the Lord, will watch over it, watering it carefully. Day and night I will watch so no one can harm it. 4 My anger will be gone. If I find briers and thorns growing, I will attack them; I will burn them up— 5 unless they turn to me for help. Let them make peace with me; yes, let them make peace with me.” 6 The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with fruit!
7 Has the Lord struck Israel as he struck her enemies? Has he punished her as he punished them? 8 No, but he exiled Israel to call her to account. She was exiled from her land as though blown away in a storm from the east. 9 The Lord did this to purge Israel’s[d] wickedness, to take away all her sin. As a result, all the pagan altars will be crushed to dust. No Asherah pole or pagan shrine will be left standing. 10 The fortified towns will be silent and empty, the houses abandoned, the streets overgrown with weeds. Calves will graze there, chewing on twigs and branches. 11 The people are like the dead branches of a tree, broken off and used for kindling beneath the cooking pots. Israel is a foolish and stupid nation, for its people have turned away from God. Therefore, the one who made them will show them no pity or mercy.
12 Yet the time will come when the Lord will gather them together like handpicked grain. One by one he will gather them—from the Euphrates River[e] in the east to the Brook of Egypt in the west.13 In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the Lord on his holy mountain.
29 “What sorrow awaits Ariel,[a] the City of David. Year after year you celebrate your feasts. 2 Yet I will bring disaster upon you, and there will be much weeping and sorrow. For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means— an altar covered with blood. 3 I will be your enemy, surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls. I will build siege towers and destroy it. 4 Then deep from the earth you will speak; from low in the dust your words will come. Your voice will whisper from the ground like a ghost conjured up from the grave.
5 “But suddenly, your ruthless enemies will be crushed like the finest of dust. Your many attackers will be driven away like chaff before the wind. Suddenly, in an instant, 6 I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will act for you with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm and consuming fire. 7 All the nations fighting against Jerusalem[b] will vanish like a dream! Those who are attacking her walls will vanish like a vision in the night. 8 A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. So it will be with your enemies, with those who attack Mount Zion.”
9 Are you amazed and incredulous? Don’t you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor! 10 For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries.
11 All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, “We can’t read it because it is sealed.”12 When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, “We don’t know how to read.”
13 And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.[c] 14 Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.”
15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The Lord can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!” 16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
17 Soon—and it will not be very long— the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. 18 In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. 19 The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed. 21 Those who convict the innocent by their false testimony will disappear. A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice and who tell lies to destroy the innocent.
22 That is why the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel,[d]
“My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear. 23 For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Then the wayward will gain understanding, and complainers will accept instruction.
29:1Ariel sounds like a Hebrew term that means “hearth” or “altar.”
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